I would like to encourage the local citizenry to take a look at the 2017/2018 Grand Jury Report that is now posted on the Del Norte County website under Popular Links.

The Grand Jury looked into the local fairgrounds sales tax revenue, the large financial deficit at the city pool, local jail overcrowding and the Mental Health branch of the Health and Human Services Department.

The 2017/2019 Del Norte County Grand Jury completed and published their investigations in The Triplicate on June 30, 2018. An article was featured in the paper referring to the investigation on the Mental Health branch of the Del Norte County Department of Health and Human Services.

The Grand Jury undertook this investigation based on the jurors’ lack of knowledge of services available to patients and families involved with local mental health issues. It was the goal of the Grand Jury to educate themselves and the community of resources available and provide findings and recommendations based on literature and interviews with employees, patients and families of clients of Del Norte County Mental Health branch.

Other investigations and reports were produced with similar intentions, to provide our community with information concerning the operations and procedures of various local agencies that were of concern to the jurors.

Three other committees investigated topics that we had questions that we felt needed answers.

The City Committee was concerned with the large financial deficits that the city-owned Fred Endert Swimming pool continued to experience. Customers, employees, managers and city staff were interviewed seeking alternatives and solutions to the problem. Findings and recommendations were presented to the public and stakeholders.

The Special District Committee had questions concerning the responses to an 2015/2016 Grand Jury report on accountability and distribution of the hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars collected as a result of the Measure F initiative passed in November 2014. The investigation provided evidence that assumptions that were incorporated in Measure F concerning certain issues did not come to fruition. Availability of financial information pertaining to the spending elements and restriction of use of funds was limited.

The Detention Committee picked a particularly significant issue facing all law enforcement agencies in Del Norte County and across the state. AB 109 and the Public Safety Realignment Act have had a major effect on the handling and release of inmates and the state and county level. The problem of overcrowding at state institutions has been solved by the early release (along with felons being sentenced to longer incarceration periods in the local jail as opposed to state incarceration) of inmates that has resulted in a significant increase of inmates in our local jail. The jurors investigated the allocation and application of funds provided by the state to the counties to offset increased costs at the local level.

These important issues were investigated for the betterment of our community. Please take a look. The 2018/2019 Grand Jury is just beginning its research into topics to be considered. Citizen Complaint Forms can be obtained at the courthouse or online. Your input is appreciated.

David Slagle is Del Norte County Grand Jury foreperson for 2018/2019.